For many countries’ citizens this visa is granted automatically on your arrival into Japan thus it is not necessary to take any specific steps to obtain it.
Here is a list of these countries:
USA, UK (British Citizens), Brunei, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France,Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Macedonia, former Yugoslavia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Surinam, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay.
For other countries it is necessary to make a visa application to your local Japanese Embassy. The visa ‘Temporary Visitor’ is the only visa which will allow you to use the Japan Rail Pass.
In order to exchange your voucher for the Japan Rail Pass, the JR employee will ask to see the visa in your passport. All other kinds of visa will not permit exchange.